Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Chatter Over Chandler: AG Run Or Susana's New Chief? Plus: Fresh Angles On ABQ Mayor's Race: And: Celebrating Ten Years Of Blogging New Mexico Politics 

Chandler & Guv
Welcome back....How loud can it get?

We speak of the incessant back room chatter that Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler will not make another bid for attorney general and...get this...end up working as Chief of Staff to Governor Susana.

Maybe it's the summer slowdown giving rise to this one. But having attorney Chandler replace Keith Gardner as the Guv's top guy doesn't seem far fetched, especially with all the legal issues swirling around the administration. i.e. behavioral health, the email hacking case involving former campaign aides, the ABQ Downs deal that the FBI has been asking about and more.

The chatter would quit cold if Chandler announced his political plans, but he hasn't yet.

Chandler was the 2010 GOP AG nominee and he is seen as strong candidate for the R's but it's an uphill battle for any R. The last time they took the AG's office was in 1986..

State Auditor Hector Balderas is poised to be the Dem AG nominee in '14. You can bet he's hoping Matt gets the call to join the Fourth Floor team...or as it's also known--"The Fifth Floor."


Former ABQ GOP City Councilor Mike McEntee ('97-'01) is taking a serious look at a run for the ABQ congressional seat, report our GOP Alligators. McEntee is a retired air traffic controller who also worked for a brief time in the state Department of Transportation in the Martinez administration. He is currently an aviation consultant.

McEntee, ran unsuccessfully for ABQ mayor in 2001. He ran into trouble in that campaign when he openly identified himself on signs as a Republican. That's not kosher for a federal employee who falls under the Hatch Act. He was suspended from his job for 120 days.

The mayor's race is technically nonpartisan, but in recent years the political parties have been actively involved and candidates routinely identify themselves in partisan terms.

McEntee would be seeking the GOP nomination for the right to run against first term Dem US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. There are no announced GOP candidates.


Maybe we've seen Smokey and the Bandit too many times, but as we enter the final stretch of the ABQ mayoral race we can't get out of our mind that lyric from the hit song featured in the film--"We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there...."

Could there be a better slogan--or challenge--for Pete Dinelli? No doubt the polls will soon stop showing Dem Dinelli as "Pete Who?" as his TV ads begin to kick in this week, but his decision to forego paid media all summer could be fateful.

Mayor Berry--a Republican in a Democratic city--has yet to be nicked. In the first scientific survey since the candidate list became certified in August, our survey has the mayor at 56% and Dinelli not even within shouting distacne--at 19%. Gadfly entrant Paul Heh is at 4%. Back in May SurveyUSA polled for KOB-TV and had Berry at 59% and Dinelli at 17%. Insiders say Dinelli's internal numbers have Berry at 52%.

A lot of months have peeled off the calendar as Dinelli harvested just about all of over $350,000 he received in public financing. He now has to conduct a five week media splash that has to get him above the 40% mark, but take Berry below 50% and force a run-off election in November. That's like throwing a 50 yard pass as a 300 pound linebacker is waving in your face.

Voting at the City Clerk's office downtown begins today and the first batch of absentee ballots go out as well. On Sept. 18 early voting begins citywide. Dinelli is going to have to have Berry headed below 50% by then because so many voters enjoy the early voting option. That's just 15 days away.

Pete's problem is he does not have the field to himself as he might have if he had spent some of his loot in the summer to poke holes in the Alcalde's record.

Berry did not take public financing and at last report had access to over $425,000 (and maybe more now) to make the case for himself, ding Dinelli and defend himself against the negative spots Dinelli will dangle out there.

Obviously, with such a large early lead our poll shows Berry leading across-the-board. He wins by gender, by political party and in all quadrants of the city. But the most dangerous lead Berry has over Dinelli is by age. Pollster Bruce Donisthorpe reports that among likely voters aged 50 and over Berry is polling n the high 50's as opposed to the high 40's with younger voters.

The turnout for a mayoral election is usually low and loaded with conservative gray hairs and Republicans. Berry will not be be held below 50% and prevented from winning automatic re-election if Dinelli can't crack the "prune juice code."

Dinelli knows that this older group is also the heaviest TV watchers. He better hope his spots catch fire early and fast. Otherwise, like so many TV shows do, this mayoral election could end up on the
cancellation list.


It's a special month for us here. We're marking the tenth anniversary of New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan. The adventure began in September 2003 and continues today because La Politica is the gift that keeps giving.

To thank our readers for their support the past decade, we're going to have some fun. Each week over the next month, we'll award $50 to the reader with the best news tip or email on state politics. And we'll be having a contest or two good for just a single day that gives readers a chance to win free lunches. (email:jmonahan@ix.netcom.com).

Ten years of blogging NM politics just about every weekday (and not a few weekends) has gone by at a dizzying pace. The best part is when the stuff gets so bizarre you start laughing while you're typing. And there is never really a bad day when you like what you do and can share that with thousands of readers here and around the USA. Thanks for being with us today and every day....


Rush Limbaugh and KKOB-AM are going to stay in each other's arms. The right-wing radio talked has reupped for three years with Cumulus Media. That means KKOB--owned by Cumulus--will keep Limbaugh in his 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. time slot. There was much speculation that Limbaugh would abandon Cumulus. That's still a possibility for Sean Hannity who is carried weekday afternoons by KKOB. But replacing Hannity would be much easier than Limbaugh whose conservative following has been with him for decades.

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